In this week's top inbound marketing article on , Jason Cohen explains why every business must engage in social media. Now, he may not send you to bed without dessert if you don't, but your business will probably be a lot worse off.

1. Why you have to engage in social media - even if you don't want to 

Author: Jason Cohen of A Smart Bear

According to Jason, it's not a matter of if you should engage in social media, it's a matter of doing it now.  He flashes back to the 90s when businesses that didn't have a website were basically invisible.  Today, everyone has a website, but new websites are invisible to the Internet without a little help from social media.  "Social media is already changing the rules of the marketplace, just like the web did a decade ago," he says.

Sure, using SEO techniques can help your website stay visible, but the only way to get that first bit of traction and visibility is via social media.  Think about how your business would fare if a big name like Darren Rowse talked about how much he loved your product on his blog or what would happen if your story was on the front page of Digg.  And if you're still not convinced of social media's power, Jason also offers up a heapload of examples.

Lesson: Social media can get you noticed when SEO can't.

2. HOW TO: Do Good on LinkedIn  

Author: Christina Warren of Mashable  

On a more philanthropic level, social media sites can also be used for the greater good.  Continuing the series on how to use the Web to "do good," Christina Warren focuses this week on how users can take advantage of LinkedIn to give a little back. 

Christina's top five ways for contributing to social good via LinkedIn include:

  1. Finding upcoming fundraising events in your area
  2. Using the groups feature to promote your cause
  3. Answering someone's question
  4. Forwarding someone a job
  5. Writing a recommendation 
Lesson: It's not all about you.  Social media can benefit social causes.

3. Do Long Blog Posts Scare Away Readers?

Author: Jonathan Morrow of Copyblogger

If you're a blogger, you may try to keep your posts short and sweet for fear that longer posts will drive away your readership.  Jonathan Morrow's article points out that this theory, though logical, may not be the most accurate.  In fact, he dares to say that the length of a blog post has no impact whatsoever on how successful a post becomes.

For the same reason great movies can vary in length, great blog articles can, too.  It's all about the story, not how long it takes to tell it.  Jonathan's words of wisdom for what matters: Write something that's interesting, and then take out everything that's not interesting.  Whether the result is thousands of words or a few sentences makes no difference.  In a nutshell: long blog posts don't scare away readers; sloppy writing does. 

Lesson: Quality over quantity.

4. Three Best Ways to Convert Web Traffic Into Sales

Author: Raymund Flandez of The Wall Street Journal

You've used your savvy SEO skills to land potential customers on your website, but now what?  It doesn't mean much unless you can get them to buy, and if you're a small business, you need smart, thrifty ways to convince them you're worth paying for.

Raymund Flandez offers three great ways for small businesses on a budget to convert Web traffic into sales:

  1. Install a click-to-call widget (AKA a call-to-action button)
  2. Chat with customers online (Offering a chat feature is a great way to stimulate one-on-one interactions with customers.)
  3. Offer a try-before-you-buy program (Who doesn't like a free trial offer?)

Lesson: SEO is only half the battle.

5. 9 Tips for Creating Great Taglines

Author: Suzanne Vara of Kherize5

Just do it.  Got Milk.  That's right - Suzanne Vara is talking slogans in this article, which offers her 9 best tips when crafting a company or brand tagline.  Taglines are a great way of capturing your audience and communicating a brand message.  They also facilitate an emotional connection between the brand and its target market and can serve as an extension of the brand by saying something essential about what it is, how its different and why people should care.

Suzanne's 9 tips: keep it short, straight and to the point; be memorable and use a catchy phrase; highlight a key benefit/purpose; be compelling; inspire; utilize a call-to-action; promote core values; be industry specific; and be original/avoid overused terms (or what HubSpot and David Meerman Scott like to call ' gobbledygook ').  

Lesson: Stand out.

Photo by Ben Sutherland  

Webinar: How to Sell Social Media to Your Boss

brogan webinar

Social media guru Chris Brogan explains how to demonstrate the value of social media marketing.

Download the free webinar to learn how to get your company started with social media.


Originally published Sep 11, 2009 7:06:00 AM, updated July 18 2013